SPARC Europe response to EC Communication and Recommendation

The European Commission has today published its Conclusion and its Recommendation to Member States on the European Research Area (ERA), acknowledging in both documents the importance of Open Access to research results.


SPARC Europe warmly welcomes the support and policy direction for Open Access in these documents. As the Communication states, the speed of scientific progress, the return on investment in R&D and maximising access to knowledge for European citizens are all at stake.


‘Gold’ Open Access publishing costs will continue to be supported and in the Communication the Commission states an explicit intention to consider whether and how OA publishing fees might be reimbursed after the period of a grant agreement.  We consider this a helpful approach since reporting research findings can often take place some time after the investigational phase of a research project has been completed.


It is very good news that the intention is to build on the  OpenAIRE  infrastructure, with its central repository and network of National Open Access Desks. OpenAIRE is delivering the outputs from the Open Access pilot in FP7 and will now continue to be the home for outputs from Horizon 2020 research. This is a model system, harvesting relevant material from the institutional repositories of researchers across the European Union, making it openly available and adding value in the process: it should be emulated in other nations and regions.


SPARC Europe especially welcomes the clear Recommendation to Member States on permitted embargo periods for European publicly-funded research – ‘preferably immediately and in any case no later than six months after publication’ (twelve months in the humanities and social sciences). We will be working with stakeholders in Member States to ensure that this recommendation is put into practice as national policies are developed.


The recommendations on attention to appropriate licensing for scholarly material, and on the retention of copyright to remove one of the major barriers to Open Access, are also very positive inclusions.


Most encouragingly of all, the conditions laid out in the Recommendation on Open Access parallel almost precisely those in the policies announced by Denmark’s five Research Councils three weeks ago[1] and yesterday by the UK’s seven Research Councils [2]. Harmonisation of policy conditions is key to ensuring that researchers and institutions across the world understand what is expected of them, wherever they work and publish. We look forward to seeing further policies along these lines from other parts of the world over the coming months and years.


The Commission declares its intention to continue working with its international partners and expresses the hope that EU action on Open Access can inspire other countries and stakeholders to develop their own policies. SPARC Europe will be working with our own international partners to support the Commission in this effort.


SPARC Europe (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
Copenhagen, 17 July 2012
Contact: e-mail:, telephone: +44 1392 879702 or +45 53 51 06 03


SPARC Europe, with SPARC (US) and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC’s advocacy, educational, and publisher partnership programmes encourage expanded dissemination of research for the benefit of many constituencies. SPARC Europe is on the Web at 

Download the response as PDF-file here:


SPARC Global